Yesterday I drove by a new home that was just listed in my neighborhood. I had a potential buyer who I thought may be interested in this new listing. I had just come from dropping of my son at a friend’s house nearby. Just prior to that I was out in my yard trimming one of my oak trees. I was a mess. Sawdust in my hair, wearing an old t-shirt and some athletic shorts. I was a sight to behold. As I drove up on the home I noticed that there was another agent who was just finishing up a showing with some clients. I could not tell the difference between the agent and the clients. I am sure he thought the same of me as I walked up the driveway looking as I did.
This home was an appointment only showing. I had just happened by at the end of his appointment. While he was in showing the home I called the listing agent to see if it would be okay for me to view the property as well. I did not get a response. I decided to go speak to the agent who was leaving. He looked at me, then glanced at my car. He saw the magnet on the side of my vehicle that said Realtor. When I approached him, I asked if the owners were home or not. Had they been home I would have not gone in until I spoke with the listing agent.
I introduced myself and explained that I was an agent previewing the home for a buyer. After exchanging pleasantries he apologized to me for how he was dressed. I thought that this was hysterical given the fact that I looked like I did. We laughed and exchanged cards. What struck me about this conversation was the fact that even though we were both looking a little worse for the wear and dressed in what would be considered a little too casual attire, we communicated professionally. The two of us were looking like landscaping staff, yet our conversation sounded like it could have been taking place in a conference room at a closing.
They were not home. I immediately submitted a showing request on my smart phone so that the listing agent would know that I was there. I left a card on the counter, previewed the home and locked up. My attire on that day did not alter my professionalism. There is something to be said for those who are convinced that dressing for success is the ONLY way to experience success as a real estate professional. Granted, there are times when professional attire is always expected, such as at a closing. The nature of our job means that there may be times that we are coming back from one of our kid’s baseball games or school activities and we receive a call from a client to see a home. There may not be time to get cleaned up and get to the client.
Letting a client know that you are coming from somewhere else is usually the best way to mitigate any questions about your level of professionalism on the front end. Clients may be more willing to overlook the t-shirt and athletic shorts you may be wearing when you have given them advanced warning.
New clients will appreciate your quick response to see a property and are probably more focused on the home they are looking at than what you look like. Just make sure you keep some smell good spray in the car at all times, because smelling bad will be something that they will never forget.
What makes us professional is our ability to be professional regardless of the clothes we may be wearing. We are all bound by the rules of professionalism regardless of how we are dressed or where we have just come from. This particular exchange reminded me of the fact that you can take a Realtor out of their professional clothes, but you can never take the professional out of the Realtor.